Periodically, I plan to use this space to pay homage to artists who I believe are worthy of focused attention — artists with an extraordinary, consistently excellent body of work and a compelling story to tell. In this essay, I examine the on-again, off-again assemblage of singer-songwriter talent known worldwide as Crosby, Stills and Nash (and Young).
In 1968, after four years of dizzying chart success with The Hollies in his native England and in the US, Graham Nash was unhappy. He was writing amazing new songs, stretching his horizons, trying new things, but his bandmates didn’t like it. It didn’t fit their image, they said. Why upset the apple cart, they said. We’re huge just the way we are. But Nash felt he was destined for more.
Meanwhile, in Southern California, David Crosby had become estranged from his bandmates in the seminal folk rock group The Byrds, and they basically kicked him out. And Stephen Stills, the wunderkind guitar wizard, was looking for something new after the implosion of his group, the great Buffalo Springfield. He and Crosby hooked up and started thinking about doing something together.